Special Collections in the History of Medicine
Essex County Medical Society Records, 1816--1997, 2005
Arranged and Described By:
The records of the Essex County Medical Society date from 1816 to 1997, but consist mainly of documents from 1816 to 1970. One document is dated 2005. The collection totals approximately 3 linear feet. They form Manuscript Collection 42 in the New Jersey Medical History Manuscript Collections. The records are open for research without restrictions under the conditions of the Archives' access policy.
The Essex County Medical Society (ECMS) is a district affiliation of the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ), the oldest, continuously meeting state medical society in the United States. On June 27, 1766, fourteen New Jersey doctors founded the MSNJ. However, it was not until 1816 that the Society was formally incorporated. Physicians then established district societies in five counties including Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Somerset, and Essex. The MSNJ appointed five physicians to form the District Medical Society for the County of Essex, which became the Essex County Medical Society (ECMS) in April 1904. The group included Joseph Quimby, Samuel Manning, John D. Williams, David S. Craig, and Philemon Elmer. All regularly licensed medical practitioners of Essex County were issued a public notice to meet on June 4, 1816 at the Moses Roff's Inn. Located on Broad Street, Moses Roff's was Newark's chief hostelry. The group elected John D. Williams as the first President and Joseph Quimby as Secretary. There were only eleven members when the Society first began, and membership dues were two dollars on admission and fifty cents a year thereafter.
At the time, Essex County included Passaic and Union Counties, and about 30 thousand people lived there. The founders of the Essex County Medical Society were mostly immigrants (or their descendants) from Great Britain. Only a few had formal medical training; possibly from a school in the United States, England or Scotland. The two schools nearest to New Jersey were Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. Not only was training hard to come by, but surgery in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was rather primitive. Surgeons were without anesthesia, only utilized a few useful medicines, and barely understood disease prevention. By 1846, the anesthetic properties of ether were discovered and surgeons performed their work with more deliberation. People began to have elective, in addition to emergency, surgeries.
Following the Civil War (1861-1865), New Jersey led industrial production in the Unites States. A Civil War Army Hospital, located on North Broadway in Newark, offered Essex County physicians an opportunity to help recovering soldiers, largely without compensation. In 1876, the ECMS was the second county society in New Jersey to induct a woman member, Eleanor Haines. The Women's Auxiliary to the ECMS began approximately fifty years later, in 1930, for the wives and female relations of ECMS physicians.
By 1933, the ECMS would meet several times a year. There would be one Annual Meeting (in April, October or May), a series of Regular Meetings called by the Council, Special Meetings called by the President, and a Council Meeting prior to each Society meeting. The minutes and actions of Regular and Special Council Meetings are printed in the ECMS Bulletin, beginning in 1931.
Clark, J. Henry. Medical Men of the Essex District 1666-1866. Newark: n.p., 1867.
"Eleanor Haines." New Jersey Medicine 87.3 (March 1990): 211.
Hill, George J. "Our 180th Year of Service to the Public and the Medical Profession." Essex County Bulletin (Summer 1996): 152-157.
The records of the Essex County Medical Society were donated to the UMDNJ Special Collections Department by the Essex County Medical Society. The Deed of Gift dates September 16, 1997. In October 2005, George J. Hill, MD, D.Litt. donated a copy of his unpublished article, "Presidents and Annual Meetings of the Essex County Medical Society" .
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The records of the Essex County Medical Society date from 1816 to 1997, but consist mainly of documents from 1816 to 1970. The collection documents the activities of the Essex County Medical Society from its establishment in 1816 to the late 20th century. Materials represent all levels of ECMS membership, from regular members and councilmen to delegates. Many of the records focus on the daily functions of the ECMS such as paying membership dues, attending council meetings, participating in Society elections, and, of course, regulating the medical practices of Essex County physicians.
Time periods best represented in the collection are the early 1800s to the early 1900s, and the mid-1930s to the early 1950s. The years most sparsely documented are the mid-1970s to the early 1980s.
The records are grouped into 9 series: MINUTES, COUNCIL ACTIONS, FINANCIAL RECORDS, CORRESPONDENCE, MEMBERS REGISTER, MEMBER BALLOTS, PUBLICATIONS, MEDICAL SOCIETY OF NEW JERSEY, and the GEORGE HILL unpublished article on ECMS presidents. An electronic version of the article is available (see Series Description IX for a link to the url). All series are arranged chronologically, except for the MEMBERS REGISTER, which is organized alphabetically, and PUBLICATIONS, which are grouped by subject as well as by publication date. Although most papers are dated, those without dates are placed behind the dated materials.
The collection consists only of textual files. The majority of the documents are typewritten paper records, although many handwritten pages and some printed materials are contained in the collection.
Document types contained in the collection include: letters, memos, publications, conference proceedings and reports, minutes from various ECMS meetings, original election ballots, financial ledgers kept by the treasurers, a number of publications and bulletins, and various clippings.
Of special interest are two 1896 letters from New Jersey senators James Smith Jr. and William J. Sewell, MD.
SERIES I. MINUTES, 1816-1954. Arranged chronologically.
This series of ten volumes documents the minutes at Society, Council, and Annual Meetings from the first meeting in April 1816. The basic agenda consisted of a review of recent correspondence, new committee reports, elections, resolutions, revisions or amendments to the Constitution or By-Laws, special events, financial matters, and old or new business in general. All the minutes have been bound. The first few volumes are handwritten; the rest contain typed mimeographs, original typed pages, and some occasional hand notes. Throughout all ten volumes appear clippings and other attachments such as early editions of the ECMS Bulletin (1931-1937, see Series VII), various brochures, and textual additions. Two volumes, 1916-1929 and 1929-1937, contain handwritten, partial indices in the back. In addition, two of the volumes are separated into two sections, "Council" and "Society." However, most are rather mixed together, and not in perfect chronological order.
SERIES II. COUNCIL ACTIONS, 1954-1970, 1974. Arranged chronologically.
This series of six volumes documents the minutes, kept by the Secretary, at Society, Council, and Annual Meetings. It is a continuation of Series I, MINUTES. In later years, the ECMS Council held meetings more frequently than in the past, when meetings may have been held only once or twice a year. The basic meeting agenda consisted of a review of recent correspondence, new committee reports, elections, resolutions, revisions or amendments to the Constitution or By-Laws, special events, and financial matters. All the Council Actions have been bound. The six volumes contain typed materials with some handwritten notes, clippings, and photocopies pasted into the books. This series covers the ECMS presidencies of: Frank S. Forte, Jerome G. Kaufman, Marcus H. Greifinger, Edward G. Gullord, Edwin H. Albano, John J. Torppey, Samuel W. Ebenfeld, Robert H. Areson, S. William Kalb, Joseph P. Klenk, Frank M. Galioto, Robert E. Fullilove, Harvey P. Einhorn, Robert C. Aderson, William Greifinger, Meyer J. Kern, and George L. Benz.
SERIES III. FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1816-1926, 1935-1944. Arranged chronologically.
This series of two volumes documents the financial business of the ECMS. It contains the handwritten ink and pencil notations of the ECMS Treasurers. The first volume, the Treasurer's Ledger from June 1816 to October 1926, consists of expense lists, meeting advertisements, book purchases, examination fees, travel expenses, meeting costs, annuities, and membership dues. It covers the Treasuries of: Samuel C. Hayes (the first Treasurer), W. Nichols, A. C. Reeves, W. Brown, E. P. Nichols, E. Smith, William Ranking, C. Bennet, Fred Weber, and Dr. Rogers.
The second volume, Dues Paid, documents the payment of member dues from October 1935 to August 1944. It lists the members' names and amounts paid to the Society. Dues range from as low as $2 to as high as $50; most fall between $17 to $20.
SERIES IV. CORRESPONDENCE, 1880-1904, 1952, n. d. Arranged chronologically
This series documents the mundane business of the ECMS. It consists predominantly of letters received by Archibald Mercer, MD, the ECMS Secretary during that period. Subjects covered include: membership dues, excuses for not attending Annual Meetings, member recommendations, delinquent members, medical services rendered, midwifery, pharmaceuticals, the State Board of Medical Examiners, non- or illegally-practicing physicians, fraudulent doctors, and medical research. Most of the papers are handwritten, and several are quite brittle.
Two letters of interest come from 1896 New Jersey Senators James Smith, Jr. and William J. Sewell, MD. They discuss the work of the ECMS to fight against cruelty to animals.
SERIES V. MEMBERS REGISTER, 1901. Arranged alphabetically.
This series contains a one volume register that documents all the members of the ECMS in April 1901. Completely written by hand, the register begins with, "We the undersigned, hereby agree to abide by the Constitution and By-Laws of the Essex District Medical Society...." It is divided with alphabetic tabs, and lists each member's name and town of residence. Approximately 350 names appear within the register.
SERIES VI. MEMBER BALLOTS, 1960-1973. Arranged chronologically.
This series documents the election process of ECMS officers, councilors, delegates, and alternates to the County and State Medical Societies. The membership ballots list "yes" or "no" choices for society transfers and associates. Each ballot offers the physician's name, affiliation, license date and county registration years. The series consists of original, sample and actual ballots.
A portion of this series is divided into delegate membership ballots. This folder starts with some sample ballots from 1961 to 1967. It continues with correspondence sent from the executive offices of the Medical Society of New Jersey. The letters relate to the election of officers, councilors, delegates, and alternates from the ECMS who will attend the annual meetings of the MSNJ.
SERIES VII. PUBLICATIONS, 1907-1997, w/ gaps. Arranged chronologically by subject.
This series consists of four parts. First, there is a copy of J. Henry Clark's Medical Men of the Essex District 1666-1866 (1867). Second, the ECMS Bulletin contains bound volumes and single issues. They range from 1938 to 1943, with other issues from 1967, 1970, and 1996-1997. The Bulletin is the newsletter of the ECMS, and reports on the minutes of all ECMS meetings and events. A run of the Bulletin (from 1938 to the present) is available in the Library's journal collection. Early issues of the Bulletin, nos. 2-48 (1931-1937), are bound together with the minutes in Series I (see Box 2, Folders 1 and 2). This subseries also contains a collection of the original typed memos, with handwritten editorial notes, to be edited for publication in the Bulletin. Memo subjects include: diabetes detection, automotive safety, annual reports, tuberculosis control, the Women's Auxiliary, public relations, child safety, emergency medical services, various committees, and memoriams.
The third subseries contains the published Constitution and By-Laws of the ECMS from 1907, 1933, 1962, 1970, and 1982. All issues contain handwritten notes and various paper attachments pasted into the publication.
The fourth subseries contains two 1968 press releases from the ECMS. One deals with the newly designed equipment of rescue squads, and the other relates to a new law for teens to get treated for Venereal Diseases.
SERIES VIII. MEDICAL SOCIETY OF NEW JERSEY, 1940-1951, 1973. Arranged chronologically.
This series includes publications and the papers from one annual meeting of the Medical Society of New Jersey. The publications include The Rise, Minutes and Proceedings of the New Jersey Medical Society (1875), which has been removed from the collection and stored with department duplicates. The other publications consist of two Annual Reports (1940 and 1941) with minutes and official transactions from the MSNJ House of Delegates, Women's Auxiliary, and the officers, committees, and presidents of the county societies. In addition, there are several "Official Fellows and Members Lists" for the NJMS.
The last item is the original MSNJ Annual Meeting folder of materials that Arthur Ellenberger, an Executive Director of the ECMS, received at the 207th Annual Meeting from May 12-15, 1973. The folder contains resolutions, proposals, ballots, reference committee recommendations, financial reports, delegate cards, addresses, newsletters, and guidelines.
SERIES IX. George J. Hill, "Presidents and Annual Meetings of the Essex County Medical Society," unpublished typescript, 28 pp., 2005.
Dr. Hill initiated a project to compile a list of the Society's presidents from its inception in 1816 to 2005 and the results are reflected in this unpublished typescript. The list of presidents (and other Society officers) was abstracted from the records of the Society held at UMDNJ-University Libraries Special Collections.
|Box Number||Folder Number||Contents|
|1||1||Financial Records. Treasurer's Ledger, June 1816-Oct. 1926|
|2||Financial Records. Dues Paid, Oct. 1935-August 1944|
|3||Minutes, June 1816-Jan. 1965|
|5||Minutes, April 1892-April 1905|
|6||Minutes, April 1901-April 1909 ; contains typed copies of manuscript material in folder 6|
|7||Minutes, April 1910-May 1916|
|8||Minutes, Oct. 1916-April 1929|
|2||1||Minutes, Oct. 1929-April 1937|
|2||Minutes, May 1937-May 1942|
|3||Minutes, Sept. 1942-May 1948|
|4||Minutes, Oct. 1948-Oct. 1954|
|5||Council Actions, Nov. 1954-June 1957|
|6||Council Actions, Sept. 1957-April 1959|
|7||Council Actions, May 1959-Oct. 1962|
|8||Council Actions, Nov. 1962-Nov. 1966|
|9||Council Actions, Jan. 1967-May 1968|
|10||Council Actions, June 1968-Sept. 1970, March 1974, n. d.|
|3||1||Correspondence, April 1880-April 1889, n. d.|
|2||Correspondence April 1890-Nov. 1899, n. d.|
|3||Correspondence, March 1900-April 1904, August 1952, n. d.|
|4||Members Register, April 1901|
|5||Member Ballots, March 1960-June 1969|
|6||Member Ballots, Oct. 1969-Nov. 1973|
|7||Member Ballots. Delegates, April 1960-August 1967|
|8||Publications, May 1867|
|9||Publications. Constitutions and By-Laws, 1907-1982, w/ gaps|
|10||Publications. Press Releases, 1968|
|11||Publications. ECMS Bulletin, 1975, n. d.|
|12||Publications, ECMS Bulletin, 1938-1943, 1967, 1970, 1996-1997|
|13||MSNJ. Publications, June 1940-March 1951|
|14||MSNJ. Annual Meeting, May 12-15, 1973, House of Delegates|
|*||MSNJ.The Rise, Minutes and Proceedings of the NJMS, 1875 (removed from collection)|
|The following items have been discarded:|
|1||House of Delegates 1990-1991 Pictorial Directory, AMA (1991)|
|2||Proceedings of the Public Relations Institute, AMA (1964)|
|3||Who's Who in Medical Society Management, AAMSE (1983)|
|4||Proceedings. House of Delegates, Houston, November 26-29, 1967, AMA|
|5||NJALL Journal of Life Long Research 1.1 (Spring 1987)|
Page Revised: 11/29/05
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